Coffee, anyone?

Posted February 13th, 2008 by Penny Wise

Another update, so much to catch up on! I decided last week that I am in the wrong business. I should be selling coffee because after a mere morning of casual observation I realise that almost everyone else in Auckland except me spends an absolute fortune on the stuff. There I was at seven o'clock in the morning, sitting in Esquires coffee shop in the CBD. To be honest I really didn't want to be there at all, but I was due to appear on the Breakfast show and was so terrified about being late and missing my live spot that I ended up arriving almost an hour and a half early so the receptionist at TVNZ directed me there to wait. And from my little vantage point I could see there was coffee absolutely everywhere. Now you probably think there's nothing unusual about that, seeing as I was in a coffee shop but it wasn't the amount of coffee inside which blew me away, it was the amount on the outside. Almost everyone I saw was carrying a cup of coffee as well as their briefcases, handbags, iPods or whatever. Takeaway coffee, every single one. Everyone was on a mission to get somewhere and in their mad rush had all made time to grab a coffee to slurp as they marched forth. I was gobsmacked, I never realised it was such an integral part of going to work in the city. I kid you not, you had to see it to believe it. Here are all us Simple Savers, doing our best to get through an entire day without spending and this lot couldn't get further than seven o'clock in the morning. I kept trying to picture each one carrying a refillable thermal cup or toting a flask in their bags instead and came to the conclusion that it had probably never even occurred to them. I dreaded to think how much they all spent in a year, and that was just on one cup a day, for all I know there could have been several more! I felt really uncomfortable sitting in Esquires with the orange juice I had felt obliged to buy in order to occupy a chair. I wanted to stand up and shout 'I'm not like the rest of you! I don't even want to be here!' I did feel slightly heartened to see one woman carrying a water bottle instead of a coffee cup and thought maybe - just maybe - she had brought it from home but I wasn't confident.

Finally my wait was over and I walked nervously past the TVNZ receptionist into the building, where the first thing I saw was - an Espresso counter! From there I was taken into the hair and make-up department, which was a lot of fun and a fantastic free pampering. I am going to have to invest in some hair straighteners once No Spend Month is over, they work wonders! The make-up room appeared to be a coffee-free zone but the aroma soon became apparent once again as I approached the studio and was introduced to presenter Paul Henry, who smiled warmly before asking his assistant to refill his coffee cup yet again. Co-host Pippa Wetzell was lovely and friendly and the interview whizzed by all too soon before I was ushered back out of the studio and past the Espresso counter again, where there was an amazingly long queue of people waiting for a coffee fix. Most amazing to me was the fact they all had to pay for their coffees! I mean, whatever happened to the staff room with a kettle in it so you could make your own for nothing? Once again I found myself wondering how much they all spent on workplace coffee every day. It's just mind boggling!

I scooted out of the city quick smart (actually that's not strictly true, I got significantly lost and ended up in Point Chevalier first) and waited impatiently for the evening screening of Campbell Live, for the first showing of our Simple Savings No Spend Month family - or as Campbell Live call it, No Crap Month! It was a real hoot and was great to see all the creative ways the Holland family had already come up with in order to avoid spending during the first week. One such hurdle was their son's fourth birthday party, which could have been an expensive exercise but undeterred, Tara had already come up with a plan. She simply wrote and asked all the guests to bring a plate of food on their party invitations and it went down a storm! It was lovely to see them creating a new vegetable patch with their two children too and having a serious sit-down with them about the fact there would be no DVD rentals this month. Good on them, they're doing a great job and I can't wait to see how they get on in the next instalment. If you would like to see the segments so far, you can catch up here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

I can't resist spilling the beans on one more No Spend family who almost made it to Campbell Live. Noel's boss lives in the city and is currently building a new house. With pre-school twins, another child at school and a large mortgage about to be added to the family, he confided in Noel that his wife's spending was driving him crazy. Her love of shopping was rubbing off on the kids, which he could see wasn't a good thing. So we told him about No Spend Month and asked if they would commit to the challenge on national television. He thought it was a fantastic idea and spent three days trying to convince his wife but she just couldn't bring herself to do it. So he had to admit defeat but on the day the show was due to air, Noel called him and told him to get her to watch the show, as apart from seeing what they could have also done, it might motivate and inspire her to spend less. The phone rang shortly after the segment screened and it was Noel's boss. He thought it was brilliant and definitely thought his wife would benefit from seeing it. Unfortunately, he confessed woefully, she was out shopping for shoes at the time...

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